IMF: Jordan price hike ‘important step’



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Thursday 27 December 2012

Last update 26 December 2012 11:51 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

AMMAN: The IMF said yesterday Jordan's decision to raise fuel prices by up to 53 percent last month was "an important step," despite violent protests in which three were killed and more than 70 injured.
"Despite this challenging environment, the authorities have been implementing sound macroeconomic policies aimed at reducing fiscal and external imbalances in a socially acceptable way. The removal of general subsidies on all fuel products ... was an important step," it said in a statement.
"It reduced costs and risks to the budget from fluctuations in oil prices. Introducing targeted transfers at the same time mitigated the impact of fuel price increases for a large part of the population."
Jordan insists the price hike was "unavoidable" given the country's $ 5-billion (3.9-billion-euro) budget deficit, and that the measures would save $ 42 million by year end.
The country relies on imports for 95 percent of its energy needs and has been struggling to find affordable alternatives to Egyptian gas supplies, which have been repeatedly hit by sabotage.
Amman has said Cairo resumed this month full gas supply of 250 million cubic meters (8.8 billion cubic feet) a day. "Jordan performed well under the program in 2012. The country has faced challenges during the year from the disruption of the flow of natural gas, the ongoing conflict in Syria, and an acceleration of influx of refugees," the IMF said.
"Combined with higher oil and food prices and a shortfall in grants, this has put further pressure on the country's economy. Nonetheless, growth is expected to increase slightly to 3 percent compared with 2.6 percent in 2011."
Following a Dec. 3 to 20 visit to Jordan, the IMF expected average inflation to be around 5 percent for the year.
The IMF said it plans to discuss with Jordan a 2013 plan to help address issues like hosting more 250,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the unrest in their homeland.
"This program will include specific policy measures that would help Jordan to reach its program objectives and address the key challenges it faces, including the large inflow of Syrian refugees," it said.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...
JEDDAH: A number of visually impaired citizens are expecting candidates to address their problems and make life easier for them after winning the Dec. 12 municipal elections.A section of these voters have also sought special programs so that they can...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior recently launched a series of training programs to upgrade the efficiency of its female staff as a new step to empower women and give them an opportunity to shine in security-related fields.Maha Frehi, the manager of...
RIYADH: Sixty-one Filipinos, who met with a vehicular accident on the day of Arafat on Nov. 5, 2011, hope to come to the Kingdom as the guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.Most of them could not complete the Haj rituals because of...
JEDDAH: At the start of each academic year, parents face a common and expected problem — their children are afraid of going to school.After spending five years in the arms of their mothers and siblings, children know leaving home means entering a new...

Stay Connected

Facebook